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Chip Kelly: Football Genius – Ep. 3, The Dog Days of Fall

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Chip has spent episodes no. 1 and no. 2 deftly trying to improve the 49ers’ dreadful offense with his genius system. But even the greatest blueprints will fail if they’re brought to life using Popsicle sticks and paste. Our hero needs some true blue-chip players if his vision will ever be fully realized. Thankfully, he’s not just the best coach in the league, he’s also responsible for the best player personnel decisions of all time.

These are the adventures of…

CHIP KELLY: FOOTBALL GENIUS!

11:42 a.m. September 2, 2016.

Trent Baalke was absolutely glowing this morning. He had finally acquired the rare 1918 U.S. Inverted Airmail postage stamp, a true crown jewel for his already royal collection. Few people knew, but the 49ers general manager was an avid philatelist. In fact, it was his one true passion. Football was just a job to pay the bills, and of course, allow for more stamp collecting.

As Baalke was pouring over every small detail of his prized stamp for the umpteenth time, Chip Kelly barged into his office. It wasn’t an unusual occurrence for Chip to pop by without an appointment; genius such as his can’t abide by the rules of polite society.

“Hello Chip. Come to discuss my latest acquisition?” asked Trent.

Chip’s eyes lit up at the idea that Trent had brought in a new player to improve his Great Pacific Garbage Patch of a roster. But his heart quickly fell when Baalke held up a 24-cent piece of paper. Chip’s sad face, in turn, disappointed Trent. Chip clearly wasn’t here to talk stamps. Chip never wanted to talk stamps.

“Look Trent; I need an upgrade on this team. These players just aren’t cutting it. Hell, some of them still think they can look me in the eyes when they talk to me. It’s most upsetting,” said Chip. “We’ve got to bring in some new life, or we’re going to get killed in the season opener.”

“I’d love to help you Chip, but as I told you when we brought you on: this team is in the midst of a rebuild,” Baalke replied. “We’re not looking to make any big moves at this time. You’re just going to have to accept that this team of underdogs is what you have to work with for now.”

Then that brilliant-idea light bulb went off in Chip’s head yet again (as if the electricity bill in his brain wasn’t already outrageous). Underdogs … of course! Why hadn’t he thought of it before. He knew just the talent to bring in to help his team.


1:37 p.m. September 7, 2016.

“Here he is offense,” announced Chip in his best Michael Buffer impression. “Your new starting running back, out of Ms. Marigold’s Canine Academy … Barkley!”

There were murmurs amongst the 49ers offense as their new teammate ran onto the field, and immediately peed everywhere in his excitement.

“Are you sure about this coach?” asked Joe Staley.

“There’s nothing in the rulebook that says a dog can’t play football,” replied Chip. “Besides, look at how much trouble the D is having catching him.”

It was true. San Francisco’s entire first-team defense was chasing Barkley, who had now snatched Antoine Bethea’s lunchbag and the dog was evading them all like the second coming of Barry Sanders. The Niners offense shrugged to each other: maybe he was just what their team needed.

“Alright coach, we trust your genius,” said Blaine Gabbert. And the whole team cheered in agreement.

Except for Carlos Hyde, who shed a single tear.

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Emily Neef (Flickr Album: Dogs)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/]
2:30 p.m. September 14, 2016.

Chip glanced at his watch again, hoping that perhaps it was broken. He was worried: his star player still hadn’t shown up for Wednesday practice. Sure, Barkley had rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns in their victory over Los Angeles. And sure, that launched the national media into another week of discussion over how smart Chip was. But no player had the right to skip practice. Only Chip had that right, and only when practice interfered with Matlock reruns.

Just then, Trent Baalke walked onto the field, holding up his cellphone.

“Chip, Drew Rosenhaus is on the phone,” said Trent. “It doesn’t sound good.”

The genius coach snatched Baalke’s phone. He hated dealing with player agents. But thankfully Chip wasn’t just a coaching and recruiting genius, he also knew everything about negotiating.

“Hey Chip, it’s Drew here. Look, this league’s just not going to work out for my client. We tried, but there’s no way Barkley can stay in the NFL.”

“But, but there was nothing in the rule book that said a dog can’t play football!” Chip shouted.

“Yes, shockingly the rule-makers didn’t think that something so common sense needed to be put in writing,” replied Rosenhaus. “But we just got the fines the league handed out for this week. Being a dog may not be against the rules, but here are just a few of the violations Barkley did have. Rule 5, Sec. 4, Article 3, Sub-section F: Stockings did not meet the bottom of his pants.”

“We couldn’t find socks to fit his scrawny dog legs.”

“Rule 5, Sec. 4, Article 7: Wearing a collar showing a logo not approved by the league.”

“Nike doesn’t make flea collars.”

“Rule 5, Sec. 4, Article 4, Sub-section I: Covered the football in an illegal substance (his saliva).”

“He drools a lot.”

“Then there was the whole debacle of showing up with no clothes on before the game, failing to meet his media obligations after the game … oh, and he bit, like, three opponents! All told, Barkley ran up a million dollars in fines this week. It just doesn’t make fiscal sense for him to keep playing in the NFL.”

“But he’s our only good player! Please don’t do this! We’ll quadruple his contract,” said Chip, looking to Trent for support. Baalke just shook his head though: as marketable as the dog may have been, he wasn’t worth that kind of stamp money.

“Sorry Chip, this league is just too strict. Barkley wants to go somewhere he’s appreciated, doesn’t he? Yes he does,” said Rosenhaus in what was supposed to be his cute voice. “We’re gonna take him somewhere that individuality is truly accepted. Look out, Major League Baseball!”

Chip hung up the phone, crestfallen.

“Trent, could you go talk to the team? I don’t have the heart to tell them we just lost the best running back in 49ers history.”

Baalke did just that. And the San Francisco team was understandably distraught. Except for Carlos Hyde, who did a reserved fist pump.


Tune in next time, for a very special Chip Kelly: Football Genius, when our heroic coach learns  all about the dangers of CTE.

Tags : 49ersAntoine BetheaAttempted HumorCarlos HydeChip Kellydog play footballDrew RosenhausJoe StaleyNFL rulesrunning backTrent Baalke
Henry Mardukas

The author Henry Mardukas